The number of Scots who are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage has been revealed today according to new figures from Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) and the Debt Advisory Centre Scotland (DACS).
DACS have revealed that 3% of Scots (126,500) borrowed money to pay their rent or mortgage last month, with those aged 24-44 particularly vulnerable to this.
Meanwhile, new CAS figures show that the numbers of Scots who have come to the CAB because of difficulty paying their housing costs have increased dramatically over the last year. The numbers struggling to pay their rent have increased by 38%, while the numbers struggling to pay their mortgage have increased by 25%.
CAS Chief Executive Margaret Lynch says,
“These figures are very worrying, and show once again the harsh reality of how people are living in Scotland today. There can be few things more basic than a roof over your head, and yet for thousands of families that is something they can’t afford to maintain. If people are having to borrow for something so basic, it’s clear that their incomes are nowhere near enough to live on.
“By borrowing like this they are just storing up debts that they are unlikely to be able to re-pay. Particularly if they are turning to high-interest lenders like payday loans. But the trouble is that many people feel they have no option. They don’t have enough money coming in to pay these costs, so they feel it’s a choice between debt or eviction.
“Having spoken to CAB advisers who see these clients every day, there is no doubt in my mind that much of the increase in these numbers is due to the welfare reforms – and specifically the bedroom tax. The UK government keeps telling us that the welfare reforms are not penalising people unfairly, but these figures show the truth.
“People who are struggling with their finances should remember that help and advice is available. Debt really is not the answer. The CAB gives expert money advice for free, and we can help you manage your finances, no matter how bad things seem. Remember too that our advice is free, confidential and impartial.”
For more information on CAS, please contact Tony Hutson on 0131 550 1010 or 07774 751655. Please note that these numbers are for journalists only. For advice, contact 0808 800 9060.
The DACS contact is listed below.
Notes to editors - click to expand/collapse
These are the CAS statistics showing the number of people who have come to a Scottish CAB because they were having difficulty paying their housing costs. The comparison is between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013. (NB These people are not necessarily borrowing to cover their costs, but many of them will be).
Number of Scottish CAB cases of people having difficulty making mortgage payments
Q1 2012: 1268
Q1 2013: 1579 (25% increase)
Number of Scottish CAB cases of people having difficulty making rent payments
(this applies to all renters - see below for breakdown of type of rent)
Q1 2012: 1418
Q1 2013: 1961 (38% increase)
Breakdown of different Types of debt
Difficulty making payments – Local Authority
Q1 2012: 765
Q1 2013: 1112 (45% increase)
Difficulty making payments – Private Landlord
Q1 2012: 213
Q1 2013: 216 (1% increase)
Difficulty making payments – Housing Association
Q1 2012: 440
Q1 2013: 633 (44% increase)